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April 19, 2022

Lee County man charged with first degree murder after beating outside Tupelo bar

Mary Apel

A Lee County man is accused of brutally beating a man to death outside a west Tupelo bar Saturday morning.

Timothy Albert Turner, 37, of Saltillo, was initially charged with aggravated assault when he was arrested on April 16. Upon the death of the victim, Leonard “K.C.” Cooper, 31, of Fulton, the charges were upgraded to first degree murder. He was formally charged on Monday.

Reporting on testimony from Turner’s initial appearance Monday afternoon in Tupelo Municipal Court the Daily Journal detailed some of the events.

The incident happened in the parking lot of Steele’s Dive around 1:30 a.m. on April 16. The establishment was closed at the time. Police say the beating was recorded on the bar’s security cameras.

In the video, Turner can be seen knocking Cooper to the ground and then punching him in the head more than 40 times, as well as slamming his head on the concrete and stomping on his face.

Tupelo police detective Brittney Williams said Turner had been told by security to leave the bar earlier that night. He was then escorted outside and told again to leave. Around 1:30 a.m., he can be heard on the security video yelling at the door to “just bring him out,” the detective said.

The Daily Journal reports that the video shows Cooper rounding the corner a short time later, then Turner striking him, knocking him to the ground. The video then shows Turner repeatedly hitting Cooper with a closed fist. Turner can then be seen walking to his vehicle and driving away.

Police say Turner returned a short time later and continued to punch and stomp on Cooper’s face. The detective said Cooper did not appear to move after the initial assault and his hands showed no defensive wounds.

“(Turner) could be heard on the video saying, ‘He got what he deserved. He had blood on his hands,’” Williams said.

During the bond hearing, Defense attorney Tony Farese of Ashland said the two had a previous altercation, and “a history”. Farese noted Turner was married, had three kids, a steady job and no felony convictions.

Tupelo Municipal Judge Willie Allen said this was as brutal a killing as the state had seen in years. He noted that no one was arguing that it was not Turner on the video.

“After beating him pretty bad, he left. He had the opportunity to go home to his wife and three kids,” Judge Allen said. “But he decided to come back for some more, which may have resulted in the death of the victim.”

Allen ordered him to be held without bond.

In a statement posted Monday afternoon on social media, Steele’s Dive said the attack occurred about an hour after closing and that the business is cooperating fully with authorities.

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